BREAKING: IFC has acquired rights to The Canyons, the Paul Schrader-directed film that pairs Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen in a drama about decadence and debauchery in Los Angeles. The film has gotten a lot of attention lately, including a very public rejection by the SXSW festival, which prompted an angry response on Deadline from Schrader over the festival’s lack of discretion. The challenges of making the film with its high-maintenance star Lohan was also the subject of a New York Times article.
At the time Schrader was sounding off on SXSW, the film’s reps at WME Global were already fielding offers for the movie, and so it did not need a festival to build the kind of awareness needed to make a sale these days. If anything, a provocative sexy film with Lohan at this point needed, in Schrader’s opinion, a quick path to the release to capitalize on all of the attendant publicity. And a company that could release on a multi-platform was a must. The film cost $90,000, with another $170,000 raised free and clear on Kickstarter, and another $200,000 in actor deferments. The rest goes to the principals of the film, which include Lohan, Schrader and producer Braxton Pope.
Here’s the official word:
IFC Films announced today that the company is acquiring North American rights to director Paul Schrader’s neo-noir thriller THE CANYONS. The modern-day Los Angeles-set film stars Lindsay Lohan and adult film star James Deen. Producer Braxton Pope led the DIY film’s extensive new media strategies which included crowdfunding and online casting. THE CANYONS has been described by Schrader as “cinema for the post-theatrical era.”
The film will premiere day-and-date and on digital platforms in early summer in conjunction with a Special Presentation at the Film Society of Lincoln Center where The Canyons will be screened and followed by a conversation with Schrader and Kent Jones, Director of Programming of the New York Film Festival. Schrader presented a Master Class on crowdsourcing and DIY production at last year’s New York Film Festival and will return to expand upon the process of making the film in a post-screening discussion.
Notes Kent Jones, Director of Programming, New York Film Festival: ”On one level, The Canyons is a visually and tonally precise, acid-etched horror story of souls wandering through a hyper-materialistic hell, with a fearless and, I think, stunning performance by Lindsay Lohan at its center; on another level, it’s an inspiration and an example to us all: it’s difficult for me to imagine another filmmaker of Paul Schrader’s stature diving into the world of crowd-sourced moviemaking, let alone with such fervor, dedication and rigor.”
THE CANYONS, a post-modern story about power and the dark side of Hollywood, centers around a scheming and very wealthy movie producer Christian (Deen) who makes movies to satisfy his father’s demands that he maintain a viable career. Lohan stars as Tara, his girlfriend who’s hiding an affair with an actor from her past. Christian becomes more and more demanding, inviting various sex partners to join him and Tara in his luxurious Malibu Canyon lair.
Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “This film is a wild ride through the psyche of Bret Easton Ellis courtesy of Paul Schrader. Lindsay Lohan is terrific as Tara and James Deen will be a big surprise for people. We are thrilled that the filmmakers’ adventure in filmmaking 2.0 has brought them to our door.”
Schrader notes: “I am delighted our film has found an enthusiastic home at IFC. We envisioned The Canyons as a multi-platform release from the beginning and no company knows that world better than IFC.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with Alexis Garcia at WME Global on behalf of the filmmakers.